Food dating emerged in the 1970s, prompted by consumer demand as Americans produced less of their own food but still demanded information about how it was made.The dates solely indicate freshness, and are used by manufacturers to convey when the product is at its peak.They’re set by manufacturers, without federal oversight, and most often relate to what manufacturers feel is “peak” quality.The date label on food does not tell you if your food is safe to eat.What regulation does exist occurs at the state level — and all but nine states in the U. “Sometimes a product needs a date, sometimes it doesn’t.
My colleague Dana Gunders has been exploring how, where, and why food gets wasted in America, from farm to store to table.
“[The manufacturers] want to make sure the consumer eats and tastes a high quality product.” But she acknowledges that even if the food is consumed after its ideal quality date, it’s not harmful.
A strawberry-flavored beverage may lose its red color, the oats in a granola bar may lose its crunch, or the chocolate clusters in a cereal may start to ‘bloom’ and turn white.
Forty percent of the food we produce in this country never gets eaten.
That’s nearly half our food, wasted – not just on our plates, but in our refrigerators and pantries, in our grocery stores and on our farms.